The St. Louis Cardinals Obituary Notice

This is going to be a full blooded Cards rant.  There will be no other topics here except for the Cardinals.  If you don’t like the Cards, don’t care about them, like the Blues more or anticipate the Rams, please disregard this message.  For those of you looking for answers, need an ending statement and crave the details of Cardinals baseball, do me a favor and read on.  I withhold nothing here, so enjoy.  Just don’t whine about the Cards heavy action here.  We wear caps and sleeves in this league, people.  Lets roll.

I am framing this message in bloody crimson because that is all the nurses saw last
night at PNC Park. The river’s ran red with Cardinal blood last night in Pittsburgh my friends.
I will withhold my official mourning section until the end of the season just so I don’t coincide with your depressing statement, but from park to park this team shall know that it dropped the fucking ball big time. Taking a page from my family’s hospital background, I will say the
surgeons and doctors pronounced this team dead at 1930 hours last night due to
a bleed in the coronary. Highly unfortunate and sad, the 2011 Redbirds saw hope
fleetingly and crashed horribly. While the collapse was similiar to previous
seasons, this pain had a feeling that hit the psyche fresh and unexpected.
Alright, I am really hurting so I am going to put down the Dexter knife set,
refuse to harm others, and simply respond here. I do hate guys named Todd.

You know the drill.  I bring the news.  You take what you choose and the world keeps moving.   Lets keep it rolling here.  I’m not going to make this quick.

It’s August 17th and I can you one thing, Cardinals fans.  The St. Louis Cardinals playoff hopes are dead.  This team is alive, but their chances of the ultimate goal, the playoffs and a World Series, are gone.  Similiar to previous collapses(2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), this fall carried its own blend of torture.   With 37 games to play and more than a month left on the schedule, one could make the mention that there is still time to pull everything together.   However, a more logical sports mind, a person who watches each game and knows this team well, can say the 2011 Cardinals team is finished.  There’s simply no other way to put it.   This team doesn’t have the pieces to make a comeback in the Central Division.   I don’t like open ended statements, so I’ll provide a few reasons.  </strong>

*There were two things the Cardinals couldn’t afford to do the rest of the season.   Blow a save and lose in walk fashion.   Both happened on Tuesday night.   There were good elements to the game.  Chris Carpenter struck out 10, threw 100 pitches, and fired off 7 solid innings that included only one 3 run mistake pitch.   The Cards rebounded from an early 3-1 deficit and took the lead 4-3 on a Matt Holliday sac fly in the ninth inning.   Fernando Salas came to the mound, threw a first pitch fastball against Neil Walker, and Walker sent it into the right field seats to tie the game.   It was Salas’ fourth blown save in 26 chances(not good, not bad) and it was a backbreaker.  After two more innings of the Pirates putting two runners on base and nearly winning, Arthur Rhodes gave up a solo home run to Garrett Jones in the 11th inning.   Pirates win, 5-4.  Game, set, match. 

*The lights have gone out in this building folks.  With two swings, the Pirates effectively severed the Cardinals chances.   Once again, the Pirates team who got swept over the weekend by the Brewers while only scoring 3 runs in 28 innings have scored 11 runs in 20 innings against the Cardinals.  When you lose to teams that painfully down on their luck, the result needs to be a victory.  The Cards came into this series needing a sweep or at the very least, a series win.   They leave tomorrow with a series loss, no matter the outcome tonight.   That’s a rough situation, where the outcome of tonight’s game figures very little into the overall equation.  The Cardinals dug this hole themselves, climbed down into it, and are telling another person to toss dirt on them.  This season is quickly slipping away and while its hard to announce, the chances of their recovery are slim to none. 

I have never been one to point out that preseason football is here, so lets dismiss baseball.   A diehard fan never looks away until all hope is lost.  At this point, however, the Cardinals just don’t look strong enough or capable of turning this trainwreck down.  Unless they can fire off a 5-10 game winning streak, The 2011 Cardinals are dead on arrival.  The hope was to make the next 6 games against Milwaukee mean something.  Now that doesn’t seem very likely.

Thinking back to April and the early deficit the Cardinals faced, its a tough realization but not a surprising one.  While I stored faith in this team, the idea of a Brewers run never left my mind. 

Looking at the Brewers, its easy to understand.
-Good lineup
-Solid rotation with 3 guns
-Shut down bullpen
-Playing well at the right time
In middle of a dogfight, Brewers are dominating while only scoring 2-3 runs a game.  The Pitching is carrying the stick there. 

The Cards lead MLB with 133 double plays and are second in blown saves with 21.   Small hints of a demise that also leads to the back end of their rotation looking vulnerable with Jackson, Lohse and Westbrook.  Combined, they are 29-24, which isn’t good or bad but a sign of early season success for at least Lohse. 

The struggles of Pujols, Salas, the rotation and the average defense only lead to one realization.   The 2011 Cards simply aren’t good enough.

Good things from last night-
*Albert has 30 HR and will reach 100 RBI and might even hit .300.
*Rafael Furcal is a game changing defensive shortstop with pop.  First legit shortstop for Cards in 4 yrs.
*Carpenter looks sharp and will finish strong. 

Bad thing-With 37 games left, we face a 7 game deficit and can’t beat the Pirates.

Result-Goodnight Cards….at least for a while. 

*Tony La Russa deserves blame for putting old hand Arthur Rhodes back out there for his second inning in the 11th.  Rhodes was never built to throw 2 innings and was a victim of bad TLR decision making.  La Russa does that in order to preserve pitchers for later or the next game when the reality is he should be managing every game like its Game 7 of the World Series.  Don’t worry about tomorrow or the next day.  Worry about this game only.  La Russa’s run could be coming to an end. He had K-Mac, Boggs and Rzep back there. All hands on deck in a must win game. La Russa continually makes moves that I know are wrong.  That’s not good.  Don’t forget about Octavio Dotel who can pitch 2 innings as well.

This is like figuring out a cause of death and for this team its easy. Bad Management and waste of opportunity.

*The Braves won so each deficit is 7 games. 

*Things got so bad last night Chris and I were comparing Pujols to a latino gangster. 
Walking around bases”do you know who I am?  I am Jose Alberto Pujols.  I piss salsa and shit guacamole!  Close your eyes and I make a chimichanga.  Joddy, pull up the car!”

Using bullets to finish the carnage here-I wasn’t lying when I called this a blood soaked Cardinals rant.

  • Albert Pujols deserves top dollar but I hope the Cards dont give him an
    A-Rod type contract worth 10 years and too much money. That is setting yourself
    up to fail. Bad business. 5-7 years at 26-28 million per season with incentives
    is fine for both sides. While Albert deserves the bank, he has said his entire
    career he wants the team to field a competitive team and asking for more would
    hurt those chances. Once again, it will come down to Albert wanting to stay
    put. Take the agent, numbers and future away. If he holds his word, he’ll stay.
    The Cardinals would be stupid to low ball him after the season, especially if
    he dominates like a Dominican Mobster with a lethal weapon in his hand. Pujols
    means more to this franchise than home runs and RBI. As he approaches the end
    of his career, he will begin to achieve various milestones like 3,000 hits and
    600 HR. AP will mean more to this team than production. His name will only
    bring this team more cash as he gets older. 2011 was an offseason but if he
    maintains the on/off pace, he still ends up with 38 HR, 100 RBI and a .290 BA.
    Pretty good to me, but falling below AP standards.
  • What’s the latest on Berkman or Jerky Berk, Slinging Lance, Puma Cock? So what if it was stolen from one of the nicknames given to Tiger Woods cock? Berkman is having a great year and deserves a healthy extension. I am all for giving this guy 2 years but nothing more than that. He is only getting older and will become very injury prone after 2013. 2 years at 12 million per is
    perfect. His season has been very impressive and easily trumped his past 2
    years. While his power stats have declined in the second half, he is still
    hitting .295 and after one more visit to Houston, can easily launch his numbers
    to 35 HR and 100 RBI. Imagine getting that for only 8 million? Ryan Ludwick,
    who? Keeping is a priority but will be tricky. Since we have AP to sign and
    Carp to keep, money has to be divided reasonably. AP is #1 as far as offseason
    goals, so hopefully Berk waits.
  • Skip has put together a very good second half, raising his batting
    average to .294 while playing average defense. However, his 2 million per season
    will be off the table and unless he wants to come back at a lower salary, he
    will walk. Descalso can replace his production or close to it with a 1/3 of the
    money.
  • The decline of this team. Pitching and hitting never really
    got into bed with each other at the same time in 2011. The pitching was hot
    early, the bullpen was horrible early and got fixed, the hitting has been
    relatively strong all season but fallen asleep on important nights. The clutch
    all around performance has went missing at the crucial hours. All in all, a
    team that simply can’t put it all together.
  • TLR will make his choice in the winter but I hope he considers it
    thoroughly. Look, what he has done in the 15 seasons in Cardinal red is
    remarkable and very consistent. 9 playoff appearances, 2 World Series and
    “always in it” competitiveness with makeshift rosters is skillful
    work. While the rest of the NL Central has experiences overturned rosters, many
    managing changes and reworks, the La Russa Factory has stayed open for business.
    However, his little genius moves are nagging and he constantly has to outsmart
    himself. For a fan, it’s grinding. I am all for Jose Qquendo to take over. Jose
    has resisted the urge to sign elsewhere or is waiting for Tony to step down. He
    gets the vote over Joe Pettini because he has the respect of the players and
    is a smart baseball guy. Also, secretly, we will find out he is the father of Albert and
    Joddy.
  • Finding a second basemen hinges on the signings of AP, Berk, and Carp.
    The Cards could look for a trade with a team, handing over a
    prospect/Lohse/Westbrook in return for a halfway decent second basemen. It
    would be nice to stop the carousel.
  • Keeping Furcal is very important, especially if he reworks his 12
    million dollar option after a down year. Furcal is Duncan pitching staff
    friendly. He makes plays few shortstops can make with his cannon arm and range.
    His hitting will tap out at .280 BA with some pop and 140 hits, and I will take
    that for the defensive upgrade.
  • Keep this in mind about Skip. He got better as the year went on while
    Ryan Theriot got worse. That’s the exit door for the Riot. It also helped
    Theriot to get off Shortstop because he was really bad there.
  • What does “out of it with 37 games left” really mean? That
    means the Cards have to pull off the impossible. They have to do what they
    haven’t be able to do all season. Put together a 7-8 game winning streak and
    hope the Brewers decline. That’s what it will take in order to come back to
    life. That legitimizes why we say they are done because they seem to be
    incapable of putting together a solid winning streak.
  • The Brewers are 18-2 in the past three weeks. Hard to keep up with
    that. They are clicking at the right time. The Preseason favorites are holding
    up the piece of paper of their potential and making it stick. The Brewers have
    the glue that the Cards lack.
  • Jeff Gordon summed it up well. The Cards are a good team that creates
    plenty of bad moments. A true letdown squad.
  • The Mang/Dream session created blog yesterday had its hits and misses but you
    have to love the varied topical range it carried. As I noted, when Pj and I go head
    to head, great material falls to the keyboard like fresh fruit. I take
    advantage of a good back and forth ranting session between two true blue
    maniacs.
  • I agree that Jon Jay/Allen Craig will work in center field. Don’t
    forget about Skip in the outfield either. He is a better defensively outfielder
    than both(very good arm and range) and has caught Jon Jay in batting average
    and hits while missing 26 games. You can’t hand it to Jay and Craig. Mix Skip
    in there, especially if you find a second basemen. I do agree that center field
    is a low cost area.
  • I won’t say this team is 100 percent finished because they
    are just frustrating enough to put together a small run and stay alive RIGHT as
    we count them out. You aren’t 100 percent finished until the magic number runs
    out. However, the party is over and the mexican cleaning crew can start picking
    up the trash for sure. Let’s put it this way, I won’t HAVE to watch the game
    tonight. It will be an option so Rae can watch her shows. The urgency is gone
    in this team so my urgency to watch them has went down considerably.
  • The fact that they blew last night’s game when they only
    needed 3 outs to get it done hurts the most. Last night’s debacle is a true
    symbol of this team. They carry the potential to win but don’t contain the
    shutdown pieces(CLOSER, CLOSER, CLOSER) to seal the deal enough. Blue balls is
    the case here. The best way to say it is this way. They had the chance to stay
    alive(barely) and they really blew it.
  • Fernando Salas isn’t your closer for next year. This team needs a legit closer. Chase Health Bell if you have to(the man is money the past 2 years for the Padres weak hitting team). Salas
    isn’t made to be a closer, was thrown into the role, pitched decent with
    setbacks and doesn’t have the high propane heater or devastating offspeed pitch
    to notch 35 plus saves. This team needs a true anchor in the bullpen. After
    Albert, Berk, Carp, the need for a closer sits right behind those other open
    ended problems.
  • The only reason to watch this team is to see what Albert can
    end up with, see how many wins Carp gets and wonder if Holliday and Berkman can
    finish with solid stats as well. What we are looking for is players keeping up
    a level of play while the overall record dips below acceptable. The crazy thing
    about this team is that we are playing better than we did in July, and could
    easily finish 12-14 games over .500 and still not make the playoffs. Individual
    stats is the reason to watch. I downloaded an app last week that notifies me
    every time the Cards score, so that will tie me to this team for the remainder
    of the season.
  • The Cardinals did lack a true Ace starter, lost AP for 2
    weeks, lost Holliday for a month, Freese for 2 months, Skip for a month, had
    Theriot at short for too long, got zero from Colby and only retained Yadi as a
    solid year long starter. They also didn’t have a solid layered bullpen until
    late July and didn’t carry a great closer. It’s amazing they stayed competitive
    until last week.

One More Thing folks.  Do you know who I am? Some call me Albert, but my name is Jose Alberto Pujols, and I sling my cobra dick wherever the ladies prefer. Close your eyes and
you’ll see what I can do. I’m dreaming up a cartoon with AP and Yadi as the
protagonists and Albert haters as the bad guys. Several age, steroid and
production issues follow as they fight crime to teach people they are legit in
their actions.
My mind never stops working, but my hands will be done for now. Time to clean up,
get ready to relax, browse over the Redbird action, and prepare for another
thrilling hour of Rescue Me. With only 4 episodes left, every hour is crucial
in this landmark series. Great television is a mood boost. Getting lost in the
fictional fantasy takes you away from the pains of reality like the Cards
descent.

My work here is done.  Thanks for playing and have a good night.

-Dan Buffa

aka A Blunt Gentleman

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Author: D. Buffa

A regular guy who feels a journalistic hunger to tell the news. I blog because its wired into my brain to write what I think in print. I offer an opinion. A solo tour here. Take regular stories and offer my spin on them. Sports, film, television, music, fatherhood, culture, food, and so on. Commentary on everything. A St. Louis native and Little Rock resident who wants to write just to keep the hands fresh and ready.

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